I'm 67, single and retired. So I have it a lot better than many people in being the full-time caregiver for my 87-year-old mother. On this forum, I read things people are going through and I realize how lucky I am. Mom has been diagnosed with dementia, but she is high functioning, still takes care of her own hygiene, and can get around the house on her own. When dad went into a memory care facility a year ago (he passed away four months ago), I moved in with mom. I gave up my own home (I still have it, but can't live in it), my social life, my freedom to come and go as I wish and cook the food I want. I can't travel. My beloved cat passed away last year and I can't get another one. I love my mother and I am not bitter about doing this, but I want my life back. I know there is only one way to get it back, and I feel terrible about the way I feel. Does anyone else struggle with these feelings of guilt? I'm not looking for suggestions about getting help, respite care, etc. I want to know if others feel guilty about wanting their lives back. I want to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Thanks to all.
I can relate. I am single, in my late 50's, and all of the sudden my life took a drastic change. Since my sister's live further away, or wanted to put mom in a home, I moved in with my mother to care for her. Mom has been diagnosed with advanced state emphysema ( see never smoked, dad did) and heart failure.
Let me say from the start, I don't regret my decision. If not for my mom and her two jobs, I would not have my college degree. Yet, my life has stopped. No more going out when the spirit moved me since she need to be supervised; no more late night out with my friends; and my current relationship is strained due to the limitations. Just to go to the gym in the morning or groceries, it is a chore.
Let's talk about getting her in the car - not an easy task - and how I hat the walker! I get help from hospice but it's trying to hold down a job, deal with the crisis when they come up, clean, cook ...... you get the idea. Friends call only once in a while since they know I am not flexible, thus, the feeling of being lonely. My friends are not the nurses and others that help me take care of her.
I hate that I don't have my old mother back!
I too, at time want to just, "have it finally over," knowing very well what that means. The guilt kicks in and I feel like a terrible son. Everything is about, "how she is feeling," yet it no one seems to ask how I am doing. When things get difficult and I have those ups-and-downs - when I am not sure if she is about transition or come out of it (she does see to have 9 lives) where do I go to cry or get some air.
Family does not seem to get it since they are miles away. Add to this that I am the "gay son" and my sisters seem to think it is alright that all this falls on me, "since I don't have a family."
I guess it what I am trying to say is, that it is ok to feel that way - I do, many time. It does not mean I don't love me mother (and I deeply do), I am just human. I try to find my little escapes, find people to share my feeling - and I have learned one great lesson in all this - I NEED TO ASK FOR HELP. Using this site is one of those ways.
I am glad you shared, thank you, I now know I am not the only one thinking this way at times.
Well thats my whining for today.
Now a day, old people live way too long thanks to modern medicine and medical treatments, yet they can not support themselves therefore become a huge burden on their children.
I am my bedridden hubby’s sole caregiver and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had a life. Not the low-cost mobile phone advertisement retired couple kind of life, but even the ability to go to a flea market with hubby for an afternoon. Or go to a restaurant and watch a ballgame on the televisions there like we used to.
Truth is, and not to sound harsh, but change is a part of life. I’ve learned no one will hand you a life. You have to make it and take it yourself. I worry when I leave hubby to visit our grandsons that there may be a fire and he won’t be able to get out. But, I don’t sit home, nervously by and wait to smell smoke either. Sometimes you have to be selfish. If your mom is still pretty high-functioning, do it now. Find home health care who will offer a few hours of respite care for you. It would be worth the hourly fee. But above all, don’t feel guilty. Unless Mom is allergic, can you figure out a way to get another kitty? My husband disliked cats and when we “inherited” my son’s cat, well, Cole now sleeps on hubby’s bed and hubby calls Cole “my cat”. Go figure!
When you say you "had to" move in with your mom, I wonder why that was?
Anyway, oddly, because I don't have a job, I SOMETIMES feel that being there for my dad gives me some sort of purpose. But at the same time I want a normal life back, then I struggle with the guilt of wanting that.
But while no two people can feel the exact same way, I do really feel a lot of the things you are feeling, and as you suggested, there isn't always an answer for that.